Rafael Nadal took another step towards winning his sixth Madrid Masters this week by beating up and coming Spanish youngster Carlos Alcaraz.
The match was hotly anticipated, particularly in front of a home crowd, with many seeing Alcaraz as the natural successor to Nadal and next big thing in Spanish tennis.
The youngster, who turned 18 on the actual day of the match had talked about the draw being a ‘dream come true’ and has openly admitted that the world number two is one of his childhood idols.
Despite all the build-up and attention pre-match about it being a ‘generational duel’, few would have expected Nadal to be troubled, particularly on a clay surface coming immediately off winning the Barcelona Open last week.
And as expected Nadal won in emphatic style 6-1, 6-2, letting his experience and class come to the forefront. He controlled the game from start to finish, except for one moment when the youngster was able to break his serve in the second set.
After the match, the 20-time Grand Slam champion was gracious in victory, heaping praise on his young compatriot.
“I wish Carlos the best, he has the values that society needs,” said Nadal.
“For me, more important than any success is to be a good person. When you have values, the stages are covered at a greater speed. He has everything to be a great player.
“I have told him bad luck, it is a pleasure and we must continue. I have always tried to be friendly and close with Carlos.
“He has had a very good attitude both on the track and in Australia, he had to confine himself and no complaints.
“That’s what I see from him, I have no need to praise anyone if they didn’t really think about it. We need someone new to come out of Spanish tennis. He has a beautiful future ahead of him.”
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